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Marriage and Economic Incentives: Evidence from a Welfare Experiment

  • Wei-Yin Hu
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    Can economic incentives be used to affect marriage behavior and slow the growth of single-parent families? This paper provides new evidence on the effects of welfare benefit levels on the marital decisions of poor women. Exogenous variation in welfare benefit incentives arises from a randomized experiment carried out in California that allows me to measure responses beyond simple year-to-year changes in benefit levels. I find that a regime of lower benefits and stronger work incentives encourages married aid recipients to stay married, but has little effect on the probability that single-parent aid recipients marry. The effects on married recipients become larger over time, suggesting that long-run effects may exist.

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    File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/XXXVIII/4/942
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    Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:38:y:2003:i:4:p942-963
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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    1. R. A. Moffitt & R. Reville & A. E. Winkler, . "State AFDC rules regarding the treatment of cohabitors: 1993," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1058-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
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